TWO MEN have been charged following unnecessary suffering during slaughter operations at a halal abattoir in Lancashire.

Imdad Ali and Joseph Bell have been under investigation since March 2017 after animal welfare organisation Animal Aid recorded footage of the slaughter man and lairage operative mishandling sheep prior to and during slaughter.

The charity commissioned two freelance investigators to install covert cameras in the slaughterhouse, which captured the men failing to correctly restrain or load the animals during the killing process, causing great distress.

The footage was used by the prosecution to convict both the men involved, and prosecutor Howard Shaw commented: “It is not that they were ignorant of the regulations, these were deliberate breaches.”

Blackburn magistrates were told that when the overseeing vet was present, all procedures were carried out correctly and it was found that 94% cent of the sheep killed by non-stun halal methods were slaughtered in compliance with the welfare requirements.

However, Mr Shaw reported that the sheep in the footage were thrown into restraints and roughly handled, stating that Mr Ali failed to carry out the slaughter in the approved manner – a single rapid cut – and animals were moved after the cut before they had lost consciousness

The 47-year-old slaughter man from Accrington, pleaded guilty to ‘failing to ensure sheep were not moved, shacked or hoisted after they had been stuck and before it was unconscious, failing to ensure a sheep was killed by severance of its carotid arteries and jugular veins by rapid, uninterrupted movements of a knife, excessive flexing of the neck of a sheep during sticking, failing to ensure sheep were moved with care, and sticking a sheep while it was not properly restrained causing it to fall to the floor while being bled.’

He was sentenced to eight weeks in custody, suspended for 18 months, ordered to do 200 hours unpaid work and pay £200 costs and £85 victim surcharge.

Fellow operative Mr Bell, from Crawshawbooth, pleaded guilty to four charges relating to ‘the improper handling of the sheep prior to them being slaughtered.’ He was made subject to a community order for 12 months with 120 hours unpaid work. He was ordered to pay £150 costs and £85 victim surcharge.